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Events promote womens health

Network fills gaps in the health care system
Kyle Wells

Finding a doctor can be hard. Finding a female doctor can be even harder. Finding a female doctor who can take appointments after work hours is even harder than that.

These are some of the issues that can prevent women from seeking the medical health services they need, according to an online survey underway from Powell River Community Health in partnership with the Women’s Health Network. The survey is being conducted as a lead up for two events hosted by the agencies as well as research for possible future events.

On Thursday, March 31, the agencies will host the Women’s Night Out at Dwight Hall from 7 to 9 pm. The by-donation event will feature a talk from guest speaker Dr. Lynda Balneaves of the BC Cancer Agency and associate professor at the University of British Columbia’s school of nursing. Balneaves will speak on the role of complementary therapy for women’s health issues, specifically stress management, cancer prevention, heart health and aging. The Arabella Bellydancers will also be performing at the event to add some fun and festivity to the night out.

The PAParazzi cervical cancer and breast cancer screening event will be held Thursday, April 7 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm at the Hobson, Horsfall and Marentette Medical Clinic across from Quality Foods. This event will provide free pap screening and clinical breast exams from female physicians to any woman who wishes to sign up.

Wendy Nouwens, public health nurse and chair of the local steering committee for the Women’s Health Network, said that the idea for the events came from concerns over women being able to obtain the ultimate services for their health in Powell River.

“I think sometimes women’s voices don’t always get heard in the medical system or their needs,” said Nouwens. Although she believes the situation has improved, “I think there’s still a lot of things that could be done and addressed.”

Some specific areas, such as first nations health for women and equal access to maternity services, need to be addressed, said Nouwens. Unique situations and health needs mean that women often require unique health services.

To take the online survey readers can visit the website.The survey will be open until April 30.

Interested readers can register for either or both events by calling community health at 604.485.3310 or, in the case of the Women’s Night Out, by emailing wendy.nouwens@vch.ca. The first 10 women to sign up for the Women’s Night Out will receive a free registration for the every WOMAN Nia and Loving the Body You’re In workshop on April 16.